When Mildred Grace, 72, had an EKG as a safeguard before a scheduled surgery, it signaled that she may have a cardiac issue. At the advice of a friend, she contacted the Gloria Saker Women’s Heart Program at CentraState—where she learned that despite not having any symptoms, she had three health conditions that put her at risk for a serious cardiac event.
Due to her job and volunteer commitments, Mildred, an Old Bridge resident, needed an appointment after the program’s normal business hours. Tricia Marceante, RN, MSN, APN-C, nurse practitioner, and board-certified cardiologist Sangeeta Garg, MD, the program’s medical director, stayed later to accommodate Mildred’s schedule. They performed a second EKG, which did not find a cardiac issue. However, a 24-hour blood pressure monitor and bloodwork revealed that Mildred had high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes.
Taking Steps to Prevent Heart Disease
“Heart disease is extremely common among women, and it’s our job to help protect their hearts,” Tricia explains. “Thanks to an abnormal EKG and additional testing, we now can help Mildred control her blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes—all risk factors for heart disease.”
Through the program, Mildred was prescribed medication to control her blood pressure and cholesterol. Tricia helped Mildred get an appointment with endocrinologist Eric Wininger, MD, who is now helping her manage her diabetes. She took several diabetes education classes to learn how to monitor her blood sugar, and met with a nutritionist to learn how diet can affect her conditions. Mildred is walking more and has given up salt, sugar, and red meat.
“I’m not going to lie; it’s hard to change your habits after 70 years,” says Mildred, who volunteers her time after work to help those in need run personal errands. “I love steak and potatoes, but Dr. Garg said that if I didn’t follow the recommendations, my health would get worse. How can I not listen to that advice?”
In less than six months, Mildred’s cholesterol level dropped significantly, her blood pressure and blood sugar are under control, and she’s lost 12 pounds. She says she has more energy and laughs that she’ll need to have her clothes taken in.
“I don’t know what would’ve happened if I hadn’t found the Women’s Heart Program,” Mildred says.
“I had planned to live to at least 95, and now that I’m improving my health, I might live to 100.”